Scrubbing in

with Alexa, one of the residents assisting on a case to relieve a man of intractable seizures.

 

Still learning, Alexa leans into the operating field to observe the attending who performs cases of this kind regularly. If a patient presents with an epileptic focus, tumor, or lesion in one of the speech areas of the brain, the surgeons will first map the brain to identify the individual's critical language sites. The challenge in this operation is to avoid cutting into the patient's speech areas while still removing enough of the temporal lobe to stop the seizures.

 

Click around to see and learn about the operating room.

 

Alexa observes closely and practices, as she will one day be performing these operations herself.

 

The surgeon's hands - whether they belong to a man or woman - work together to complete a challenging, and important task. As Alexa's co-resident, Jackie, puts it "I like the fixableness [in neurosurgery] ... you have a tangible solution that you can provide." She continues,

Drawing back the gauze so that the cortical surface is visible, the attending on the case reminds the residents, "Here it is, the reason we do this: the human brain." Just underneath the teal and blue drapes surrounding the brain lies the patient. The white cotton in the operating field is the area of his anterior temporal lobe that was removed, in hopes of curing his seizures. 

"I don't know if an internist would get to experience the kind of thing we get to experience."

While the residents wrap up the case, see what Jackie, Alexa's 2nd year co-resident, is up to.

Some sections contain graphic images of operation, all patient de-identified, and all photos obtained with proper approval, and consent from all parties, departments, and individuals involved and belong to K. L. Graywill.